TAIPEI -- The Taiwanese legislature has added a category to the Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act and updated the name of the law to reflect the broader scope.

Now called the Toxic Chemical Substances Monitoring and Control Act, the statute includes a new category of controlled chemical substances characterized as nontoxic but potentially hazardous to the environment or human health. Such substances must be declared to the EPA and users must gain approval from the local government.

The amended act requires anyone using toxic or monitored chemicals to submit floor plans of their premises when applying for operating permits with local governments.

The new rules impose harsh penalties for infractions, including seven years to life in jail and fines ranging in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The new rules are promulgated in the wake of a fire at Chin-Poon's printed circuit board factory in Taoyuan this year in which six firefighters and two Thai employees were killed.

The rule also protects whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers.

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